Gulf War Illness is best described as a group of symptoms, including central nervous system symptoms, which have occurred in veterans of the first Gulf War. "Gulf War Syndrome," as the illnesses are commonly known, is a non-scientific label that has frequently been used to describe those veterans with unexplained illnesses often characterized by fatigue
, joint pain
, skin rash
, memory loss
. Five panels of experts agree that this group of veterans is probably not suffering from a single, common ailment, but rather from a variety of illnesses with overlapping symptoms.
A number of potential causes have been postulated and investigated, but to date no single theory appears likely to explain all of these undiagnosed conditions. Among some of the more common theories are: exposure to low levels of chemical agents; an unusual chronic infectious disease; exposure to biologic warfare agents; side effects of vaccines or medications administered to Gulf War participants; or some combination of these factors.
Of the 697,000 U.S. troops who served during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, more than 100,000 have registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the Department of Defense (DOD), saying they have health concerns. While most of these veterans have been diagnosed with a variety of conditions, more than 15,000, or about 20 percent of those examined, have undiagnosed symptoms.
There are a growing number of reports linking a rare neurological disorder known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, to service during the first Gulf War. Forty ALS cases have been reported among service members deployed to the Persian Gulf. Only 27 more cases have been reported among the 1.8 million service members not deployed to the area during the first Gulf War.
In August 2003, veterans of the first Gulf War filed a lawsuit against a number of chemical companies in Europe and the United States blaming the corporations for illnesses they contracted while serving in the war. The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages for more than 100,000 veterans, alleges the companies helped build Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons program during the 1980s. The veterans argue that they developed illnesses from exposure to toxic chemicals when U.S. forces blew up Iraqi ammunition dumps.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a military accident, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
- Military Hazards & Accidents
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) / Lou Gehrig's Disease
- Diarrhea: Overview
- Fatigue: Overview
- Joints & Muscles: Overview
- Memory Loss
- Skin Disorders: Overview